Pros And Cons Of Creating Your Own Digital Products

Pros And Cons Of Creating Your Own Digital Products

Posted by on Aug 15, 2011 in Earn money online

Pros And Cons Of Creating Your Own Digital Products

While websites have been torched in the past by Google for black hat linking, cloaking and all sorts of other tricks, most regular webmasters never experienced any Google slaps – until this year.

It reminded many webmasters that the Internet business is not as reliable as it seemed to be –and that content website model that relies on free search engine traffic is extremely dependent on Google.

I think the large content website model is here to stay for a very long time – it just needs to be done better than 4 years ago.

But there is another option of getting traffic – creating your own digital products and using advertising and / or affiliates to create traffic.

I actually earned my first dollars online with my own digital products and later started learning more about Adsense and affiliate programs.

The Problem Of Sales Letters Being Part Of Your Main Website

But after having been selling my own ebooks and tennis videos for a few years I realized that my sales letter (or parts of them) have been copied literally thousands of times.

There are all blogs and sites that somehow scrape all products on Clickbank, add their own hoplink and take a few sentences from the sales letter to create a small blog post.

Then there are folks who copy the sales letter 100% and then place it on another domain where everything looks like the original except the links are affiliate links.

The problem with that is duplicate content.

And with Google Panda algorithm updates, having original content on your site looks to be more and more important.

The Solution – Separate Domains

I just recently started to combat this problem.

I rewrote my sales letter for one of my digital products (which is a LOT of work), bought a new domain and posted my new updated sales letter there.

Once I updated the link in my Clickbank account, all affiliate links for my product now automatically send visitors to that new domain.

And what’s interesting to see now is how much traffic I get solely from affiliates – since I changed my Clickbank sales letter link on July 25th and can track all traffic from then on.

For this product I get around 100 daily visitors.

Traffic from Clickbank affiliates

Traffic from Clickbank affiliates only

 

Google, Yahoo and Bing indexed the site in a couple of days and they send an occasional visitor but since there are just a few links to the site that I created from my own sites it doesn’t really rank well.

And yet, I get 100 daily visitors to the site without any need for search engines.

Creating digital products doesn’t have to be a monumental project. Start with a small ebook (like I did) with maybe 25 pages.

Sell it for $10-$20 on Clickbank.

Once you see that there are sales trickling in, consider another ebook or an audio or a video.

What if you had 10 digital products listed on Clickbank and they were really good?

You most likely wouldn’t be a millionaire yet but you would be getting sales without being a slave to search engines.

If you combine that with your main website that drives traffic to all these sales sites, you could be doing really well!

Head over to Shaun Fawcett’s case study on this page to see how Shaun used exact same approach to build on online empire with digital products.

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    23 Comments

  1. Hi Tomaz

    I am getting increasingly nervous about Google dependency, Facebook dependency etc. You have to wonder about the return on a heavy investment in content creation when it can be undone by scrapers, copyists and Google algo changes.

    This sounds like an excellent model to work on as part of a diversification strategy.

    As ever, thanks for sharing.

    [Reply]

  2. Hey Tomaz,

    The way one of my mentors got around this is to either upload the entire sales page as a graphic or portions of the sales page as a graphic.

    He also does this with his ebooks. If you try to copy the text in his ebook you will notice it’s nothing but an image that was converted into a PDF document.

    I hope that helps…

    [Reply]

    Tomaz Reply:

    Why didn’t I think of that before? 😉 Thanks for a nice tip!

    [Reply]

  3. Hey Tomaz,

    Another great article. You are always keeping on your toes and really helping people.

    I think the biggest thing I got from this article is an internet business take work, dedication and time. This is so true. It has taken me years to get where I am today.

    Affiliate traffic is much more controllable than all the SE traffic is. And if you know what you are doing it can be not too hard to get.

    But, it,s really great you are sharing your idea’s with people. You are really protecting them so they don’t get discouraged.

    I think the best thing to do along with what you stated in this article is to diversify. Have a web content business, write ebooks and get affiliate traffic and whatever else you can think of.

    Good stuff friend, keep up the good work.

    [Reply]

  4. Hi Tomaz – forgive me if I’m being slow here, but how does having a seperate domain solve the problem? Are you saying not getting search engine traffic will help you?

    [Reply]

    Tomaz Reply:

    Mark,

    Google Panda has shown us that just a few poor pages on your site can affect the whole site. If Google is raising red flags because of thousands of copies of my sales letters that can affect my whole site.

    By moving these sales letters to separate domains they can penalize that single domain but not my whole site.

    [Reply]

    Florian Reply:

    Tomaz…so why do people copy your sales letter all the time and not any of the other pages/content ? don’t you run into the same problem with any good page you have ?

    [Reply]

    Tomaz Reply:

    Hey Florian,

    If they copy some of my articles, there might be 3 or 5 copies around the web. But when they copy a sales letter, they copy it so that they can sell my products with a good sales letter.

    Affiliates copy the sales letter while my articles may be copied just by some websites. And I don’t edit articles…

    So there are literally hundreds of copies out there. And that’s what worries me – because as soon as I have edited my sales letter for some reason (add a new testimonial or change something to best better conversion), my page will have a later date stamp. Google should have the first one of the page but things are not that accurate from what I see and read.

    So my page becomes on of hundreds of copies out there. That’s what I think can be a problem – especially with these super strict Panda rules…

  5. Hi Tomaz,

    I like this idea a lot. Do the customers then download your ebooks from your new domain? If they order directly from you rather than through an affiliate, do you accept payment through the separate domain also? Or does the new domain direct the customer back to your main site for fulfillment? The reason I ask is I’m wondering if you can use a cheap host for this new domain which basically only holds a sales page, or whether it’s better to use a full fledged host (sbi)?

    [Reply]

    Tomaz Reply:

    Laura,

    In Clickbank account page you define the sales letter URL and the download page URL. I keep the download page on SBI as it includes a form that collects emails.

    When they click order (on that new domain) they are transferred to Clickbank to complete the payment. So yes, you can use a cheap host for that domain and sales letter. And most with most hosts (bluehost, hostgator) you can have unlimited domains on one hosting account.

    [Reply]

  6. Hi Tomaz,

    Thanks for this article. I would like to add a few points to share with everyone when it comes to creating information products and selling them on the internet.

    I am not a guru and still in the midst of working these things out. Hopefully readers will find these tips useful.

    There are 6 main aspects to consider:

    a) Niche
    – The niche we choose will determine if we make money or not. Some niches just do not make money.

    b) Traffic
    – We need to diversify our traffic sources to at least a few. Don’t fully rely on google or facebook. Easier said than done. The most important thing is not traffic, but rather the visitor value or lifetime value.

    c) Product
    – Can be videos, ebooks, audios. Most important is not the product but the salespage. Still can make sales with an average product but without a good salespage, no one will buy a superior product.

    d) Conversions
    – Most important is what’s the conversion rate of your product. If you have 5% conversion rate, you can advertise more, and make more profits with lesser visitors.

    e) Technical stuff
    – Need to find the right software, tools and services to make everything work.

    Once we get all these right, I believe our internet business will become more robust and profitable.

    I am still trying but honestly, I am not as great an action taker as you, Tomaz. I tend to overthink and overplan without doing.

    Trying to correct it now and move forward.

    Cheers
    Jerrick

    [Reply]

    Tomaz Reply:

    Good points, Jerrick. Thanks for sharing!

    [Reply]

  7. Hello Tomaz,
    This is one strange morning. Last night before leaving for yoga, I was on SBI forums, trying to understand the ratio of Supply and Demand. This morning your reply was staring in my face.
    Your communication is straight forward, and understandable. Ken is a wonderful entrepreneur, but his dialect scrambles my mind.

    Still in the begining stages of my site, only 20 pages. I am very excited and committed to building this concept, but I am very much in need of guidance. Looks like I found the right place for my direction.

    Sincerely,
    Annette

    [Reply]

  8. Great post! I agree with Toddjir that diversification is key — especially now that Google has become so unpredictable.

    Do you think that setting the sales page as rel=”nofollow” would work as an alternative way to avoid Panda trouble if affiliates copy the text?

    [Reply]

    Tomaz Reply:

    Hi Nancy,

    Yes, we could use noindex on the page to avoid duplicate content – and that’s similar to using an image instead of text.

    [Reply]

    Nancy Reply:

    @Tomaz, Thanks! Seems like an easy solution. Thanks for pointing out this issue — I hadn’t thought of it before.

    [Reply]

  9. Excellent post, thank you.

    From this and some of your previous posts, it appears to me that somebody starting or being in the early stages of their online business (like me) has to completely change their ‘entrepreneurial’ mindset – it’s no more an ‘easier’ kind of business that with some part-time effort should pay off in few years time… You know, take a ‘recipe’ (content+links), follow through and then repeat…

    It’s becoming very similar to offline business, making it even harder for an average 9-5 employed online beginners to break free. Few years back the chances to succeed with just adding fresh content+links were probably much higher for such a beginner; now without substantial financial investment into the website/own products in my opinion these chances are not particularly shiny.

    On one hand I am glad that I am getting aware of this message, but on the other hand it feels also quite disheartening as well…

    Anyway, an excellent incentive to start planning my own e-products, so thank you.

    [Reply]

    Tomaz Reply:

    Yeah, I think it’s harder than before just to make money online but that doesn’t really fulfill you. Creating a real business does.

    [Reply]

    mk Reply:

    @Tomaz, Hmm, but wouldn’t you agree that majority of let’s say 9-5 people start online business because of their monetary goals, not so much personal fulfillment? Sort of following Maslow hierarchy of fulfilling the (financial) needs? If I remember correctly, that’s what you wrote once on this blog for your case, that some niches you’re not particularly excited about ‘pay’ for your true passions, financial and personal freedom.

    So what I am saying is that it’s a decisive factor if making money online gets really hard for ‘small’ websites (in terms of resources, time, etc.) – it’ll sure weed out lots of webmasters who don’t approach it as a ‘regular’ offline business, e.g. shop or bakery. For me personally, this is a big change in thinking; a few years ago I wouldn’t even dare to think I could invest into/run a let’s say a ‘real’ shop; but now that I’ve built it, if I want to succeed financially, this is how I feel have to approach it; attract and keep customers with good products, fair relationship, etc. It’s not like I can leave my shop closed a few months, have my windows dirty ;)…

    Of course, I do agree that it really helps/makes happy if your online business enables living out one’s passions… It’s much easier to be patient, right ;).

    [Reply]

    Tomaz Reply:

    My point was that a real business where you interact with people and make deals – even if that is NOT your passion – fulfills you more than just slapping up a site online and earning money. Once you experience it you will know.

    There are literally missions of entrepreneurs around the world who are happy with their businesses and yet that is not their real passion. Their passion may be then just a hobby (like fishing or skiing or even playing tennis) – and yet they enjoy their business and its growth.

  10. I have one question about hosting the main sales page on a separate domain. If I link to that outside page frequently from my main site, could that leak page rank?

    [Reply]

    Tomaz Reply:

    Theoretically yes, but linking out is normal – that’s how the WW Web is formed.

    And you’re “leaking” pagerank in order for that site to leak some dollars into your account. 😉

    [Reply]

    Nancy Reply:

    @Tomaz, Thanks! 🙂

    [Reply]

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